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October is Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM). The goal of CSAM is to help Canadians stay cyber safe by equipping them with knowledge through this five-week strategy.

This week, we explore how to keep your phone and the information on it secure.

Mobile phones have become an essential part of everyday routines, whether for personal use or business-related. For any company born in the cloud-era, bring your own device (BYOD) is part of doing business. Cloud services and mobility have changed the way we work and created an environment where employees want access to corporate applications and data at any time, from anywhere, and from whatever device they choose.

What security challenges come with BYOD programs?

Allowing employees to use personal devices for work presents a unique security challenge: how can you be sure that access to corporate applications from an employee‑owned device is secure without a) invading employee privacy by monitoring everything on their device, and b) creating a cumbersome access workstream that frustrates users?

For more than a decade, security practitioners have turned to mobile device management (MDM) solutions to secure remote and personal mobile devices that have access to business-critical data.

MDM solutions, however, come with their own challenges. Users are skeptical about allowing an MDM on a personal device; they’re concerned that admins can glean personal information and control how they use their devices. But admins without an MDM on user‑owned devices fear they’ll lack visibility. It’s a cycle that stalls out BYOD security programs and can increase the risk of exposure to organizations.

How do you minimize the risk associated with a BYOD program with an MDM solution?

Many organizations administer devices and applications using MDM products/services. MDM primarily deals with corporate data segregation, securing emails, securing corporate documents on devices, enforcing corporate policies, and integrating and managing mobile devices including laptops and handhelds of various categories. MDM implementations may be either on-premises or cloud-based.

What are the functions of MDM?

Some of the core functions of MDM include:

  • Ensuring that diverse user equipment is configured to a consistent standard, and supported set of applications, functions, or corporate policies
  • Updating equipment, applications, functions, or policies in a scalable manner
  • Ensuring that users use applications in a consistent and supportable manner
  • Ensuring that equipment performs consistently
  • Monitoring and tracking equipment (e.g. location, status, ownership, activity)
  • Being able to efficiently diagnose and troubleshoot equipment remotely

In addition to the important security features, an MDM solution will also help you maintain visibility and control of who accesses what, from where, and on which device.

As the trend to BYOD continues to rise and users need more flexibility to access corporate applications and data from their personal devices, you must have an MDM solution that works hard to keep your corporate data and applications safe.

Keep your phone secure by following best practices

In addition to using an MDM, you can help keep your phone and devices secure by following best practices such as:

Your data is important. Always be aware of cybersecurity dangers and take preventative steps to ensure that your data is secured. To learn more about CSAM or plan your strategy, visit the official CSAM 2020 guide.